Leon Valley council member removed from office after harassment complaints

Council voted to sustain all employee complaints against Benny Martinez

By Fares Sabawi - Digital Producer, Patty Santos - Reporter

LEON VALLEY, Texas - After holding six hearings and listening to 34 hours of testimony, the Leon Valley City Council voted to remove a council member from office during a special meeting Wednesday.

Benny Martinez became the subject of a taxpayer funded independent investigation after a council member and five other city staff members filed complaints against him.

“This has been a rough process for the staff, council and residents," City Manager Kelly Kuenstler said in a news release. "I am thankful that this has concluded and that all concerned can move forward and work on the progress of Leon Valley.”

The seat will remain vacant until Aug. 20, when the city council will meet again and decide how to move forward.

City staff members accused Martinez of belittling them and creating a hostile work environment.

A councilwoman, Dr. Catherine Rodriguez, had also accused Martinez of sexually harassing her. Her complaint alleged that Martinez invited her to lunch multiple times, caressed her hand during handshakes and pressed up against her body in a Christmas party picture.

"I just want to say that justice prevailed," Rodriguez said in a statement. "Even though Mr. Martinez was able to delay long enough to avoid my charge, he was nonetheless found responsible for his behavior against others."

Martinez has denied all the allegations against him.

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